Plans for state-of-the-art new coastal defences in Southsea have been given the green light as government awarded nearly £100m of funding to the project. Funding from the Environment Agency was the final hurdle the Portsmouth City Council project had to overcome and work is now set to start on site later this year.
Cllr David Ashmore, the council's Cabinet Member for Environment & Climate Change, said: "Securing this funding is a testament to the hard work put in by the team over the last seven years. We are now able to replace the outdated defences and protect Southsea residents and businesses from the risk of flooding for generations to come."
The proposed scheme will protect over 10,000 residential and 700 non-residential properties in Southsea from the risk of coastal flooding. It also aims to bring more economic benefits to the area, including attracting further tourism and events to the area and support local businesses and employment through the scheme itself to name a few.
Cllr Hugh Mason, Cabinet Member for Planning Policy & City Development, said: "This is excellent news and it is the culmination of many years of planning and careful negotiation. The scheme has been challenging because we had to plan not just to build sea defences but to plan them in a way which would protect and enhance the unique character of the Southsea seafront, so loved by both local people and visitors."
As part of a six-year programme worth £2.6bn to protect 300,000 homes across England, the Environment Agency is supporting the Southsea Coastal Scheme with £97.8m of funding following on from planning permission being granted in December and now final approval from HM Treasury.
The project team has worked closely with the Environment Agency on a local as well as a national level to secure approval, despite unprecedented demands placed upon central government finances at this time. It is the culmination of seven years of work including wide ranging public consultation to help develop and shape the scheme.
Cllr Judith Smyth, who sits on the project's cross-party working group, said: "I am delighted government has awarded this funding. It will be great for residents to start seeing the delivery of the plans they have contributed towards over the years and a real boost for Southsea."
The first phase of work to start will be between Long Curtain Moat and Clarence Pier, while detailed designs for other sections are being developed.
Cllr Luke Stubbs, another member of the project's cross-party working group, said: "This project is huge for Southsea and Portsmouth as a whole. It's the biggest local authority delivered coastal defence project in the country. It's great that work will be underway soon and as plans are developed for the other phases residents will have more opportunities to get involved."